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PSU seeks input on preparing students for health-care careers

Pittsburg State University is exploring ways to better prepare students for a wide array of jobs in one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. On Wednesday, Nov. 16, CEOs from health care or health-care related companies will share what they think students should know and how students should prepare for health care jobs in the decades ahead.

Pittsburg State University is exploring ways to better prepare students for a wide array of jobs in one of the fastest growing industries in the U.S. On Wednesday, Nov. 16, CEOs from health care or health-care related companies will share what they think students should know and how students should prepare for health care jobs in the decades ahead.

The education workshop with business professionals begins at 9:15 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. in the Sunflower Room of the Overman Student Center. A second workshop is set for Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Virginia Rider, a university professor in biology, said health care offers many opportunities beyond the obvious careers in nursing and medicine.

“Many students who attend PSU are initially interested in health care but subsequently decide against attending medical or other professional schools,” said Rider, who advises many pre-med students and is the campus coordinator for Kansas IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence. “These are often excellent students that, lacking information about alternatives, do not move into a career in health care.”

PSU Provost Lynette Olson appointed a faculty committee to explore ways the university might expand opportunities for students interested in health care. Members of the committee represent a variety of disciplines, ranging from biology and chemistry to the social sciences and even construction engineering technology.

Increasing opportunities for students in health care is especially important, organizers said, in light of recent expansions by regional health care providers, new services offered by the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and the new KCU medical school campus in Joplin.

The business leaders invited to the workshops have been asked to respond to three questions: What skill sets are you looking for in a student to enter into your industry area? How can this university prepare a student better and how can you help us? And, what makes one applicant as an entry-level employee more competitive than another?

Gavin Goodwin, representing Environmental Services at Via Christi Health, will begin Wednesday’s discussion at 9:15 a.m. He will be followed at 10 a.m. by Dr. Tracy Godfrey of Mercy Health System. A representative of the Cerner Corp. will talk about electronic medical records at 10:50 a.m. and Sandy Krusheck, a social worker with Via Christi, will talk at 11:35 a.m. Dave Brown, with HMN Architects, will begin the afternoon session at 1 p.m. with a discussion of interior design. Dennis Hendricks, with Via Christi Biomedicine, and Seth Newton, of Smith and Nephew, a medical equipment manufacturer, will close out the afternoon.

Rider said the committee is eager to hear from the business professionals.

“Our hope is that we can expand the options for students who are interested in health care and, thereby, graduate students who are at the top of their game with a bachelor’s degree.”

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